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Broad Street fire displaces 14 in Chambersburg

At least 15 firefighters treated for heat- and smoke-related problems

At least 15 firefighters treated for heat- and smoke-related problems

June 10, 2008|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- Heat proved to be as much an obstacle as flames for more than 100 firefighters who responded to a four-alarm house fire Monday afternoon in Chambersburg that displaced as many as 14 people.

At least 15 firefighters were treated for heat- and smoke-related problems, Franklin County Emergency Management Coordinator Susan Dutko said. Most were treated at the scene, but two firefighters and one fire policeman were taken to Chambersburg Hospital, she said.

The fire at 690 Broad Street was called in at 2:40 p.m., and smoke and flames were coming from the back of the house when firefighters arrived, Dutko said. Flames were shooting through the roof of the two-story frame house and a thick column of smoke drifted across the neighborhood.

Dutko said 11 members of an "extended family" lived in the house, including four children. An adult and two children were home at the time the fire was called in and all three got out safely, she said.

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"Look at the shutters on that house. They just melted," a woman said of the house next door. "That's some heat."

One neighbor said she heard two booming sounds at about the time the fire occurred.

The cause of the fire was under investigation by Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal Jeffrey Sarver. Dutko said the fire appeared to have started at the rear of the house, which was reduced to charred rubble.

The front of the house appeared to have significant fire damage to the attic, and there was smoke and water damage throughout the rest of the house.

The fire also damaged the house on the opposite side of 690 Broad St., leaving it uninhabitable, Dutko said. Three people lived in that house, she said.

Thomas Reardon of the Franklin County Chapter of the American Red Cross said his agency was providing shelter to at least those residents of the house where the fire originated.

The Chambersburg Fire Department and Franklin Fire Co. were assisted by fire companies and departments from around the region, including New Franklin, Pleasant Hall, St. Thomas, West End Shippensburg and Cumberland Valley Hose Co. Transfer units were called in from Franklin, Adams, Cumberland and Fulton counties in Pennsylvania and Washington County, Md.

"The fire department asked us to interrupt the power on the power lines that go past that house ... to make sure if the house fell, that it wouldn't fall on those wires," Chambersburg Electric Department Superintendent Richard Hamsher said. About 400 customers were without power from 3:20 to 3:40 p.m., he said.

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